How do you feel when you look at old pictures? When the ghosts of the past stare outward and residual memories flare? Frozen time capsules of what was, and what can never be again. As I write this my heart feels heavy, each image I view a silent reminder of what was going on in my head. When I see pictures of Lowenna the overpowering feeling I come away with is one of guilt. I was nowhere near as hands on with her as I was with Holly. In fact I often gravitated towards Holly as it was the easier option than having to go through the baby stage again. A part of me hadn't been ready for a second child and I was subject to a residual resentment. This shameful behavior was to shadow me for the best part of her first year, and to this day I carry a deserved guilt. I was an absent father. Not in the physical sense, but in the emotional one. I sometimes wonder if this may damage my relationship with her in later years; isn't it said that the basic personality is formed by the age of two? Where was I for the first twelve months? I was wallowing in my own selfishness. It was me at my most loathsome. Please believe me when I say I've done much to put that right as she has grown and we now adore each other. But that first year will always haunt me. I will always be ashamed because I failed my gorgeous girl.
The other images that make me ache are those of my father. He was developing a lethal malignancy, an undiagnosed and difficult to detect form of lung cancer which would, in the summer of 2007 claim his life. My father was from the building trade. Strong and yet wiry, sturdy without being overweight. What that disease did to him was truly horrible, yet it could have been so much less traumatic if he'd been diagnosed earlier. For months he was going to his doctor, and on one occasion she had looked him in the eye and told him he did not have cancer. It wasn't until he was practically wheelchair bound that he was given an MRI. Within 45 minutes a consultant told him he had cancer. It had taken months of severe physical pain, multiple ambulance call outs, numerous X rays and GP visits. One day I'll write more about this. Tonight it's too hard.
All those images in an album. How powerful and evocative. They've stirred up a hornets nest of emotion within me. Not exactly conducive to a good nights sleep.